Definition of circus noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



    BrE BrE//ˈsɜːkəs//
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˈsɜːrkəs//
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  1. 1[countable] a group of entertainers, sometimes with trained animals, who perform skilful or amusing acts in a show that travels around to different places
  2. 2the circus [singular] a show performed by circus entertainers, usually in a large tent called thebig top We took the children to the circus.
  3. 3[singular] (informal, disapproving) a group of people or an event that attracts a lot of attention A media circus surrounded the royal couple wherever they went. the American electoral circus
  4. 4[countable] (British English) (used in some place names) a round open area in a town where several streets meet Piccadilly Circus
  5. 5[countable] (in ancient Rome) a place like a big round outdoor theatre for public games, races, etc.
  6. Word Originlate Middle English (with reference to the arena of Roman antiquity): from Latin, ‘ring or circus’. The sense ‘travelling company of performers’ dates from the late 18th cent.
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: circus